Tiger Woods announces his $500 million deal with Nike is over after 27 years with the sportswear giant
Tiger Woods and Nike have announced that their $500 million partnership is over after 27 successful years together.
The golf icon, 48, first started wearing Nike when he was just 20, and since then the company has provided his famous Sunday red looks and provided fans with legendary commercials.
Rumors of a possible split have become increasingly popular in recent weeks, amid reports that Nike plans to close its golf division completely.
And now they've both announced their divorce in a pair of statements released Monday morning.
Woods said: “More than 27 years ago, I was fortunate to partner with one of the most iconic brands in the world.
'The days after are filled with so many amazing moments and memories, if I were to name them I could go on forever.
Tiger Woods and Nike have announced that their $500 million partnership is over after 27 years
Nike said it was 'a great round, Tiger', with the golfer wearing their brand back in 1992
“Phil Knight's passion and vision brought together this partnership between Nike and Nike Golf and I would like to personally thank him, along with the Nike employees and incredible athletes I have had the pleasure of working with along the way.
'People will ask if there is another chapter. Yes, there will definitely be another chapter.'
Tiger ended his statement with “See you in LA,” suggesting he plans to play next at the upcoming Genesis Invitational in February.
Nike posted its own statement on Instagram, adding: “Tiger, you challenged your competition, stereotypes, conventions and the old-fashioned way of thinking.
'You have challenged the entire golf institution. You challenged us. And especially yourself. And we are grateful for that challenge.”
Rumors have been swirling that the golfer and the company could part ways since Woods' miraculous comeback last year after his horror car crash in 2021.
Woods thanked Nike co-founder Phil Knight (pictured together in 2016) in his statement
Woods raised eyebrows when he arrived at the Masters in April 2022, returning to the course after the single-vehicle car crash that nearly cost him his leg, wearing a pair of FootJoy golf shoes, instead of his usual Nike.
Explaining his choice of shoes to the media, he said: 'I now have very limited mobility. Just with the rods, plates and screws in my leg, I needed something different, something that could help me be more stable. That's where I went.'
Nike supported Woods' decision with a press release stating, “Like golf fans around the world, we are excited to see Tiger back on the course.
“He is an incredible athlete and it is phenomenal to see him return to the sport at this level. His story still transcends sport and inspires us all. As he returns, we will work with him to meet his new needs.”
Woods also wore FootJoys again this year during the Masters and last month during the Hero World Challenge.
But despite speculations, the move doesn't seem to have any bitter feelings but is rather a business decision.
According to No Laying Up, Nike is considering a move to close its golf division. Nike stopped making golf equipment in 2016 and has only sold clothing since then.
Woods' first contract with Nike, in 1996, was reportedly worth $40 million over five years
Other Nike players, such as Rory McIlroy, could also leave due to uncertainty over their golf decision
Other brand ambassadors, including Rory McIlroy, Scottie Scheffler and Brook Koepka, could also reportedly leave Nike for good.
The closure of Nike's golf division would mark the end of a 40-year period of making clothing and equipment for the sport.
After Nike stopped manufacturing equipment, Woods turned to TaylorMade, which does have an apparel division, albeit a limited one.
Woods' first contract with Nike in 1996 was reportedly worth $40 million over five years, followed by an estimated $100 million contract signed over another five years in 2001, according to ESPN.
He signed another eight-year contract in 2006 for an estimated $20-40 million per year, which was extended in 2013 for an undisclosed amount, according to Forbes. His current deal is believed to be worth $200 million.
If they part ways, Woods wouldn't be the first leading athlete to part ways with Nike after a profitable partnership.
Soccer star Lionel Messi left Nike for Adidas in 2005, Kobe Bryant made the reverse move from Adidas to his own relationship with Nike, and Simone Biles left the sportswear giant for Athleta.